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The Appalachian Trail winds through over 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Mountains.

The books that have stayed with me the longest are the ones that I can relate to. This is true of most stories: If we can see ourselves in them, there’s a greater chance we’ll keep coming back to them. It’s relatability, it’s visibility–it’s important.

For me, I usually find myself in the characters, but that’s not the only way to relate to a story. I love it when a book gives me a clear sense of space that I can see and navigate as if I were there myself. That’s made endlessly easier when a book is set somewhere that you actually know.

How many books have you read set in Tennessee? Below you’ll find a list of books set in the Southern Appalachia region, primarily east Tennessee and Virginia, though there are a few further flung locations.

  • A Death in the Family by James Agee, Fiction
  • Appalachia: The Voice of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant, Children’s Fiction
  • Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani, Fiction (Has everyone read this one already? Maybe)
  • Blindside by Catherine Coulter, Mystery/Thriller
  • Bloodroot by Amy Greene, Fiction
  • Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, Fiction/Southern Gothic
  • Christy by Catherine Marshall, Historical Fiction
  • Darwin’s Children by Natasha Larry, Young Adult Fiction
  • The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, YA Fiction (I know it’s Panem, but District 12 is set in Appalachia, which is cool)
  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, YA Fiction
  • Pioneers in Paradise: Legends and Stories from Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia by V.N. Phillips, Nonfiction
  • Provinces of Night by William Gay, Fiction/Southern Gothic
  • Suttree by Cormac McCarthy, Fiction/Southern Gothic
  • The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore, Fiction
  • Twilight by William Gay, Horror (I don’t believe there are any vampires)
  • Wash by Margaret Wrinkle, Historical Fiction

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a place for you (and me!) to start. I know what I’ll be picking up from the library next week!

If you have any favorite novels set in our region, please pass along a recommendation.

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